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Dispelling the Myth of "English Only": Understanding the Importance of the First Language in Second Language Learning

By Elsa Billings, Aída Walqui


Contrary to the myth that “English only” is the one and only path to successful English acquisition, research on language learning shows that it is beneficial for a student to continue using their first language.

This brief, written by Elsa Billings and best-selling author Aída Walqui, both of WestEd’s Quality Teaching for English Learners, offers background on the importance of fostering continued use of the first language while simultaneously learning a second language.

The brief also provides instructional strategies that will help students strategically use their first language to access texts and participate in activities while they are simultaneously learning English. In so doing, teachers can build into their lessons powerful opportunities for students to simultaneously develop conceptual knowledge and skills in a discipline while they are expanding sophisticated understandings of both their first language and English.

Download other briefs in this series produced by the New York State Education Department:

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Product Information

Copyright: 2017
Format: PDF
Pages: 8
Publisher: New York State Education Department